Jordan Geist scored 30 points as 12th-seeded Missouri held off 13th-seeded Georgia 71-61 in the opening game of the SEC men’s basketball tournament Wednesday night in Nashville, Tenn.
The Tigers (15-16) advanced to play fifth-seeded and 22nd-ranked Auburn in the second round on Thursday. The Bulldogs finished the season 11-21 after losing for the 12th time in their last 13 games.
It was Missouri’s second victory over Georgia in eight days, having won 64-39 in the Bulldogs’ lowest-scoring home game since 1945.
Xavier Pinson added 15 points for the Tigers, who made 24 of 29 free throws, including 10 of 13 by Geist.
Jordan Harris scored 26 points, Derek Obeide added 12 and Nicolas Claxton had 11 to lead Georgia, which made just 21 of its 36 free throws (58.3 percent).
Kevin Puryear made a jumper to start the second-half scoring and pull Missouri even at 34.
The score was tied three more times before the Tigers scored six straight points as the Bulldogs went nearly five minutes without making a field goal.
Ogbeide’s layup ended the field-goal drought, but Geist answered with a 3-pointer for a 52-45 lead.
Missouri increased the lead to 60-50 when Geist made a free throw with 3:31 left.
Harris’ three-point play pulled Georgia within eight with 2:51 left, but the Bulldogs didn’t score again for nearly two minutes and the Tigers made their last six free throws.
Geist scored nine points as Missouri opened a 19-12 lead before Georgia started getting to the free-throw line.
The Bulldogs made six consecutive free throws to pull within one.
After consecutive layups by Reed Niko and Geist, E’Torrion Wilridge ended a 7 1/2-minute, field-goal drought for the Bulldogs by making a layup.
Claxton made back-to-back jumpers and Amanze Ngumezi and Harris each made a 3-pointer during a 15-3 run that gave Georgia a 33-26 lead.
The Tigers got within a point before Claxton’s free throw gave the Bulldogs a 34-32 halftime lead.
—Field Level Media